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FeaturedThe Definitive Angle

The Definitive Angle: MLS Week 16

The Definitive Angle is PRO’s analysis of the week’s Video Review use in MLS.

Week 16 overview
There were five Video Reviews during Week 16.


MTL vs CLT: Review for goal (offside) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Mathieu Choinière (MTL) and awarded by the on-field match officials. As always, the VAR checked the footage of the goal to establish whether there were any clear and obvious reasons to disallow it. On doing so, he and the AVAR saw that at the moment of the shot by Choinière, teammate Zachary Brault-Guillard (MTL) was in an offside position, just outside the goal area but moving forward.

The ball went very close to Brault-Guillard on its way into the goal, passing just behind him but missing him. The VAR deemed an offside offense had been committed by Brault-Guillard through his interference with an opponent, namely goalkeeper George Marks (CLT), and as such, he recommended a Video Review.

The referee looked at the footage at the RRA but judged that no such interference had occurred and retained his original goal decision.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside (interfering with opponent).
Final decision after review: No change – goal.
Length of review: 2:42.

PRO’s Opinion: The footage shows that Marks hesitated momentarily as the ball passed Brault-Guillard anticipating that it might deflect off him as he moved forward. As such, the goalkeeper could not commit to making a save until the ball had passed Brault-Guillard. Additionally, the goalkeeper also lost sight of the ball as it past behind Brault-Guillard.

Therefore, an offside offense had been committed by Brault-Guillard whose positioning and actions had clearly impacted the goalkeeper’s ability to play the ball. The goal should have been disallowed.


HOU vs CHI: Review for goal (offside) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Sebastián Ferreira (HOU) and awarded by the on-field officials. The VAR checked footage of the goal and, after consultation with the AVAR, formed the opinion that Ferreira had been in an offside position when the ball was played to him by teammate Darwin Quintero (HOU), prior to scoring.

The VAR recommended a Video Review, and after looking at the images for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred and disallowed the goal for offside.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – offside.
Final decision after review: No goal – indirect freekick.
Length of review: 2:32.

PRO’s Opinion: Ferreira looks to be very marginally ahead of the deepest defenders, who are Carlos Terán (CHI), who was close to Ferreira, and Boris Sekulić (CHI), who was further away across the field. Both defenders appear to be in line with each other, while Ferreira seems to have been leaning slightly further forward than both. However, it is very close, and judging Ferreira’s position compared to Sekulić, who is further away, is challenging.

Inserting a virtual offside line post-game suggests this was the correct outcome in this case, but we cannot be certain. The VAR does not have such a tool during the game, and has to make his/her judgment using the naked eye. This situation sits on the borderline in terms of whether sufficient evidence existed to the level required for intervention. The VAR felt that was the case. However, in the interests of achieving consistency PRO maintains a high line for intervention in such cases, which it feels is not quite reached in this situation.


POR vs COL: Review for penalty kick (in or out)


What Happened: A direct freekick was awarded to Portland Timbers just outside the Colorado Rapids penalty area when goalkeeper William Yarborough (COL) made late and heavy contact on Santiago Moreno (POR), after Moreno had touched the ball past the on-rushing Yarborough. The referee deemed, in real-time, that the foul contact had happened just outside the penalty area, hence his award of a direct freekick rather than a penalty kick.

He correctly cautioned Yarborough for the reckless nature of the action. As the situation happened in close proximity to the top of the penalty area, the VAR checked the footage of the incident to ensure the non-award of a penalty kick was not a clear and obvious error. He saw that the foul contact had happened inside the penalty area and that a penalty kick should have been awarded.

He recommended a Video Review, and after watching the footage for himself at the RRA, the referee concurred, and a penalty kick was awarded.

On-field decision: Direct freekick.
Type of review: Penalty kick.
Final decision after review: Penalty.
Length of review: 3:18.

PRO’s Opinion: This was a good use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error and reach the correct outcome.


POR vs COL: Review for goal (foul in APP) – not given


What Happened: A goal was scored by attacker Jaroslaw Niezgoda (POR) and awarded by the on-field match officials. The VAR checked the footage of the goal and formed the opinion that Niezgoda had used his left arm to control the long through ball from teammate Bill Tuiloma (POR) before scoring. As such, he recommended a Video Review. However, when the referee viewed the footage at the RRA, he did not see conclusive evidence that a handball offense had been committed. He retained his original decision to award the goal.

On-field decision: Goal.
Type of review: No goal – handball.
Final decision after review: No change – goal.
Length of review: 3:20.

PRO’s Opinion: The referee was correct to award the goal. The ball appears to make contact with the front of Niezgoda’s left shoulder and does not make contact far enough down the arm to be considered a handball offense as per the Laws of the Game. In the absence of clearer evidence, a Video Review should not have been recommended in this case.


PHI vs NYC: Review for goal (offside) – given


What Happened: A goal was scored by Philadelphia Union when the ball deflected off Cory Burke (PHI), having been shot towards goal by José Martínez (PHI). However, the goal was disallowed by the on-field officials in real-time because they deemed Burke to be in an offside position when Martinez shot.

When the VAR checked footage of the goal, he saw that Burke was clearly being held onside, and recommended a Video Review, after which the goal was correctly awarded.

On-field decision: No goal – offside.
Type of review: Goal.
Final decision after review: Goal.
Length of review: 1:58.

PRO’s Opinion: This was an effective and efficient use of the Video Review system to rectify a clear and obvious error at a crucial moment in the game.



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